Online community education programs are an important part of building a professional learning community. In such programs, students either learn from pre-recorded videos featuring industry experts or attend live classes that are addressed by these industry experts. The main selling point is that students learn directly from experts with peers in the online learning community.
The right type of online community education program makes it easier for brands to impart knowledge and build brand authority. Also, the right online community education program makes it easier for online learning community members to get the desired value.
OK, we know what you're thinking!
You're thinking how you will get to know which type of community education program is right for you?
Don't worry! Just keep reading this blog and you'll get to know which type of community education program is best suitable for you and their outcomes.
By the end of this blog, you'll know:
One important thing before we dive deeper - if you're looking for a platform to develop an online learning community around your brand and its purpose, then give LikeMinds a try. It enables you to build a community platform with features that help you in building a deeper and intimate relationship with your customers while hosting workshops, courses, and various community education programs.
So let's get to it!
While designing an online education program for your student community, start with defining the outcome. It is very important to know what is it that you want to provide your online learning community members with. This will make it easier for you to choose the right curriculum, instructors, and duration for your program. This will also market your program to the student community and hence help in revenue generation.
Let us have a look at a few outcomes that you can focus on for your online community education program:
1. Internships or entry-level jobs: By pursuing an online community education program, college students increase their chances of getting a good internship or job in the desired field. A good internship is important for college students as it gives them valuable work experience. Also, the skills gained through an online community education program helps them in exploring their career path during their internships.
A critical component of this online community education program is to be able to conduct a recruitment drive. In this recruitment drive, students meet employers to get an internship or interview with good companies.
Pro Tip: This will also make your B2B portfolio strong.
2. Career Switch: If you're targeting professionals that are looking for a career switch, this could be a very strong outcome. These courses help professionals in gaining new and specific skills that are relevant for a comparatively short period of time.
A common practice is to have a capstone project that lets students apply their learnings in a real-life project. This makes career switching possible as most companies, especially startups, these days consider these courses as strong proof of intent for building a career in a certain field.
3. Professional Upskilling: This is one of the most frequent outputs of online community education programs. You can help professionals upskill themselves in a few weeks to help them in getting better at what they do. By upskilling themselves, professionals can keep up with the rapidly evolving nature of modern jobs.
A lot of up-and-coming online community education programs focused on professional upskilling also emphasize networking as their program's USP. At the end of the community education program, the members build a network of like-minded professionals.
4. Increased Earnings: Needless to say, increased skill knowledge equals increased income. But certain programs are targeted towards consultants, freelancers, small business owners, or independent professionals. Having gained new skills around a specific function benefits them in increasing income or saving costs in a short span of time. Such programs help in creating new entrepreneurs and contribute significantly towards job creation and boost the economy.
5. Personal Improvement: Not just professional, but there are online community education programs that help people in making personal improvements. These include community education programs that one can pursue to perfect something that they do as a hobby or to improve their overall physical, mental, or emotional wellbeing.
So, these are a few outcomes that online community education programs can provide. Decide which benefit you want to provide your students with and then accordingly choose the program type.
Now let us have a look at the different types of programs and which of the above-given outputs do they provide the students.
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When selecting the right online education program for your student community, a lot is there to consider. Things like learning outcomes and the duration of the course play an important role in the process of choosing the right type of program. If the duration is too short, then students might not get hold of all the concepts and the value creation could be less. And if the duration is too long, then you run the risk of students losing interest.
This is why you should consider both - the outcome of the course as well as the duration of your course - and then choose the online community education program that is in line with these requirements. Let us have a look at the different types of online community education programs and which one is suitable for which course length and objective:
1. Cohort Based Courses: This is a generic term used for courses that enroll students in batches. Online cohort based community courses follow a pre-defined syllabus. They are interactive and students get to discuss problems and find their solutions in real-time. These educational community programs can be of any duration, but a good starting point is 4 to 6 weeks duration.
The benefit of cohort based courses is that everyone learns the subject at hand at the same pace as everyone else and accountability increases, eventually resulting in course completion rates. At the end of this online community education program, students are also given a certificate as proof of being proficient in a certain set of skills.
Two of the most popular Indian startups that follow this type of online community education programs are Bitclass and FrontRow. These startups are highlighting the role of community in inclusive education in India through their education community platforms.
Pro Tip: If you think that cohort based courses are what will be most beneficial and helpful for you to achieve your business objectives, then you can take inspiration from these startups.
2. Bootcamps: Community bootcamps are a type of cohort based course, but include an intensive curriculum of 8 to 12 weeks. This community education program focuses more on practical learning. Workshops are a large part of this program. Bootcamps also help professionals in learning how to achieve goals as a team.
The teaching objective of these programs is to teach only those skills that are actually required in the field. From tech firms to financial service institutions, organizations these days prefer hiring professionals who have graduated from these bootcamps.
As per Career Karma's State of the Coding Bootcamp Market Report 2020, organizations like Facebook and Amazon hired many online bootcamp graduates in 2019.
3. Alternate Degree Programs: These online community education programs are everyone's go-to education programs because these programs focus more on career relevance and academic quality along with being flexible. Alternative degree programs are relatively long-term community education programs that have a course duration of 6 to 12 months.
Another popular Indian startup that highlights the role of community in inclusive education in India through its online educational community program is Stoa School. They promise to be an alternative to traditional MBA and market 72% hike in salaries to their prospects.
Another one embracing this community education program is Masai School. This startup provides 6 months long coding courses at a "zero" upfront fee. This type of community education program is preferred by a lot of professionals and students because traditional degrees of 2 year colleges are out of their reach financially.
Many startups hire graduates from these alternate degree education programs and this is becoming a viable alternative to traditional degrees of 2 year colleges.
4. One-on-One Mentorship: In this online community education program, students are matched with a group of experts who mentor them 1 on 1 and provide them with guidance, resources, and tools for achieving desired goals. The duration of this community education program varies. It can be anything from 4 to 6 sessions spread across 1 to 3 months.
Community education programs like these help students in understanding a particular subject as a career option. Students get one-on-one mentorship from multiple experts throughout the duration of the course.
An Indian startup that highlights the role of community in inclusive education in India by conducting one-on-one mentorship programs is Next Leap. They offer mentorship to product managers via this and other types of online community education programs.
So broadly, these are 4 different types of community education programs that you opt for. There are few other names used for such programs like Fellowships and Learning Sprints, but, as stated above, you should focus on making sure that the course outcome and duration are in-line with your community education plan and course.
And on that note, if you're a knowledge entrepreneur or student community builder, looking for the right platform to build and grow your student community, then visit the LikeMinds website now! We've helped hundreds of creators in building their communities and we'd love to help you too!
So what are you waiting for?
Get going and design your online community education program now!